Whether you have dreamt of becoming a school principal or are just as happy teaching in a classroom and informally mentoring your peers, you’re aware that school leaders are needed now more than ever. The recent increase in demand for online learning comes from both the COVID-19 pandemic and the push to provide equal accessibility to all student groups — no matter where they live. While the “new normal” will require much more distance technology, leaders and education professionals will need to step up to create best practices for these methods and help implement them in their own learning communities.
All educators, including administrators, coaches, teachers and support professionals, will play a key role. An advanced degree, like a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Administration online, can equip you with crucial skills to put these plans into action. Here are some of the ways leaders can be there for students as they adapt to the ever-changing world of online learning.
Plan for Technology
Some schools have had to start from scratch when picking tools to use for coursework, communicating with students and managing assignments and assessments. Some schools are offering one laptop per student for the first time, but other schools may have more trouble providing necessary technology tools. Whether or not you have a background in networking and infrastructure, your input as a classroom educator is needed. Even schools that consider themselves tech innovators should keep their eye on new solutions on the market and work with the community to give students the necessary access.
Not every lesson plan works when delivered virtually. That’s why instructional designers and curriculum developers are in high demand as schools transition their coursework to online models that still meet state and federally mandated benchmarks. Those with an eye for experiential learning will find many new opportunities for making both synchronous and asynchronous lessons inclusive for students.
Monitor Student Progress
How are kids doing with distance learning? Depending on whom you ask, the answer may vary. Teachers have a lot to manage when handling the tech interfaces for classrooms and adapting their lesson plans for the new constraints of a computer screen. Developing new and innovative ways to check in with students is crucial when you are not with them in the classroom. Data and analytics will be more vital than ever in the mission to make sure no child falls through the digital cracks.
Qualities of an Excellent Leader in Online Learning
No matter your skill set, there’s a place for you. Leaders who do the following will be the best asset for their online learning communities:
- Stay calm and help others focus
- Seek out information to provide to others
- Create a sense of normalcy without trying to recreate the classroom online
- Provide emotional and professional support for teachers
Whether your school offers 100% virtual experiences or chooses to outsource instruction to third-party software and learning hubs, your influence on others is important. Be the change you want to see by showing positivity and enlisting other educators to help you. Adults really do set the tone for kids, and children need stability in their lives now more than ever.
Online learning is likely here to stay. If you want to be a leader in helping schools adapt to this new technology, consider pursuing a specialized master’s degree in educational administration. You can continue to work while earning your degree in as few as 16 months.
Learn more about Lamar University’s M.Ed. in Administration online program.